Lars Christensen

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Lars Christensen

Lars Christensen (born April 6, 1884 in Framnæs near Sandefjord , † December 10, 1965 in New York ) was a Norwegian shipowner , whaling entrepreneur and Antarctic explorer . He financed eleven trips to the Antarctic between 1926 and 1937, of which he participated in four.


Christensen was the youngest son of the wealthy shipowner Christen Christensen (1845–1923) and his wife Augusta Fredrikke (1851–1888). After his training, which also took him to Germany and England , he joined his father's business in 1906. In 1907 he founded his first own company, whose fleet operated in the waters around Chile and in the South Atlantic including South Georgia . From 1909 he was also active in whaling. In 1910 he married his wife Ingrid (1891-1976), the daughter of the shipowner Thor Dahl (1862-1920), who accompanied him on his later Antarctic voyages. British polar explorer Ernest Shackleton's research vessel Endurance was built in 1912 in one of Christensen's shipyards. Christensen had originally planned to operate the ship together with the Belgian polar explorer Adrien de Gerlache de Gomery for tourist polar cruises and polar bear hunts. His hometown owes him the founding of the Sandefjord Whaling Museum in 1917 , one of Norway's first excellent museum buildings. His literature on whaling, which he had collected while traveling, was transferred to the museum's library, the expansion of which he also financially supported. With the death of his father-in-law in 1920 and his father in 1923, Christensen became the owner of further shipping companies, shipyards and whaling companies through inheritance.

Christensen had a great business and personal interest in the Antarctic and the wildlife there. Between 1926 and 1937 he financed a total of eleven expeditions that served to explore the Antarctic continent and its waters and took part in some of them himself. These undertakings led, among other things, to the incorporation of Bouvet Island (1927), Peter I Island (1929) and Queen Maud Land (1939) into the Antarctic area claimed by Norway, which is not recognized internationally. Christensen was among the first to use seaplanes to map the Antarctic coastline . He completed this mapping from the Weddell Sea to the Shackleton Ice Shelf . During the expedition of 1936/37 around 2200 aerial photographs were taken , covering a coastline of around 5000 km and an area of ​​16,187 km². Christensen's wife Ingrid was the first woman to take part in a flight in Antarctica.

Together with Otto Sverdrup and Oscar Wisting , Christensen managed to save the Fram , the legendary ship Fridtjof Nansens , Otto Sverdrups and Roald Amundsens , from falling into ruin. 1935 was Fram in Oslo Fram Museum housed where they can still be seen today.

Christensen died on December 10, 1965 while staying in New York. He was transferred to Norway and buried on December 30th in the family crypt in Sandar (belonging to Sandefjord since 1968). In his honor, the Lars Christensen Summit on Peter I Island, the Lars Christensen Coast , the Christensen Glacier , Mount Christensen and the island of Larsøya all bear his name in Antarctica .


  • Lars Christensen: Such is the Antarctic. Hodder & Stounton, London 1935 (English)
  • Lars Christensen: My Last Expedition to the Antarctic 1936–1937. Johan Grundt Tanum, Oslo 1938 (English)
  • Joh. N. Tønnesen: Consul Lars Christensen in memoriam . In: Thor-Glimt. No. 18, June 1966 (English)
  • John Stewart: Antarctica - An Encyclopedia. Vol. 1, McFarland & Co., Jefferson and London 2011, ISBN 978-0-7864-3590-6 , p. 319 (English)

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